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Exhibits

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Visit the historic 1752 home of William and Elizabeth Covenhoven, which was used as a makeshift headquarters by British General Sir Henry Clinton and his officers in the days before the Battle of Monmouth. Discover the choices that were available to the Revolutionary-era residents of Freehold as the British came through on their way to Sandy Hook. 

Covenhoven House is open to the public Fridays from 1-4. Call-ahead appointments are available as well - email here to schedule a visit. Contact us if you would like to be a guide for this beautiful historic house museum! 

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Edward Taylor:

Through the Eyes of a 19th-Century Photographer

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Edward Taylor was a well-known figure throughout Middletown Village, though his photographs suggest that he especially cherished intimate gatherings of close-knit family and friends. His subjects also included landmarks near and dear to his heart: churches that hosted family milestones, aging homes of generations past, and the rural landscape of 19th-century Middletown Village. Handheld cameras like the Kodak, introduced in 1888, allowed photographers like Edward to balance technical skill with artistic expression. This is evident through his work, which often reveals Edward's creative flare and whimsical sense of humor.

Taylor-Butler House, 127 Kings Hwy, Middletown

Open Fri-Sun from 1-4. Please ask the guide at Marlpit Hall (small house next door) for access to the exhibit. 

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Lover's Knot, c. 1820

The Monmouth County Historical Association was founded on an October afternoon in 1898 over tea. Residents from Freehold, Atlantic Highlands, Sea Bright, Asbury Park, Shrewsbury, and Colts Neck met at the home of Caroline Gallup Reed. Reed, who ran a successful girls' school in New York City, summered in Monmouth County. Local newspapers followed the developments of the new historical organization eagerly. The Association's original mission statement read:

 

"...To discover, procure, preserve and perpetuate whatever may relate to Monmouth County’s history, genealogy,

and biography, and all that pertains to the welfare and honor of Monmouth County."         

                                                        

- Freehold Transcript and Monmouth Inquirer, October 28, 1898

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Chatelaine, c.1880

Over the next 125 years, the Monmouth County Historical Association would construct a dedicated headquarters building in Freehold in 1931, add five historic houses, and amass a collection of more than 30,000 artifacts and objects as well as a Library and Archives Collection that represents Monmouth's fascinating history up to the present day From Lenni Lenape arrow points and grinding stones to oral history interviews detailing modern Monmouth's experiences, the Monmouth County Historical Association has lived up to its original mission with exhibitions, programs, tours, and events.

Civil War  Surgical Kit, c. 1860

"Highlights: 125 Years of the Monmouth County Historical Association" features 125 of the best, most interesting, and intriguing objects, artifacts, and archival materials from the collection. Among the items on view will be the 1695 Rhea Chair, a rare copy of the 1664 Monmouth Patent, paintings, furniture, textiles, and more. And of course, visitors will be able to view the powerful and dramatic "Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouth," painted by Emanuel Leutze in 1857.

Suggested Admission Prices

Adults          $10

Child 6-12     $5

Seniors          $5

Students        $5

Children 5 and under / Veterans: Free

Hours of Operation

Wed - Saturday 1- 4 pm

The exhibition will run through Spring, 2024

70 Court Street, Freehold, NJ 07728

Ever wonder what goes into building an exhibit? 

Check out this five-minute video to catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the process!

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Beneath the Floorboards
Whispers of the Enslaved at Marlpit Hall

This exhibition is the first major development stemming from the Living and Breathing initiative, started in late 2019 as a means of reinterpreting MCHA’s colonial-era historic houses to include the stories of the enslaved African Americans who once resided within them. It seeks to offer a better understanding of how slavery took root in early Monmouth County, as well as the complex dynamics of daily life and relationships among the enslaved. 

The telling of New Jersey’s history is often fragmented, with little remembrance of the thousands of men, women, and children living under forced servitude for more than two centuries. This exhibit is framed upon seven of these individuals: Ephraim, William, Elizabeth, Clarisse, Hannah, Tom, and York, all of whom once lived at Marlpit Hall.

Extensive archival documentation, archaeological evidence, and objects from MCHA’s museum collection - some on view to the public for the first time - help tell the larger story of slavery in Monmouth County and New Jersey. 

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Elizabeth Van Cleaf

Born into slavery at Marlpit Hall

Hours of Operation:
Fridays - Sundays 1-4pm
137 Kings Hwy, Middletown, NJ

For group visits and inquiries, please email volunteer@monmouthhistory.org
To schedule a class trip, please email education@monmouthhistory.org
Did you visit the exhibit? Tell us about it!
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